The four of us (me, Jenna, Joey, and Michael) had not all been together in just about 20 years. Michael, Jenna, and I had done an appearance on the TV show “‘Til Death” maybe five years ago, but Joey was not involved in that. Joey and I did an Old Navy commercial a few years ago, and Jenna and I have been communicating, largely about breast feeding and being moms, since her daughter was born two years ago. We even wrote a joint post about our relationship and on her website, The Cradle Chronicles. Michael and I were always very close and I’ll admit he was always my favorite! He and I have gotten together here and there over the years and more recently, we’ve socialized more.
In some ways, the four of us grew up together. When “Blossom” started, I was 14, Joey was 13, Jenna was 12, and Michael was, as he likes to say, “older.” We spent five years together on a set which meant that we saw each other more than we saw our families or our outside friends. We had in-jokes aplenty and we were together for some very important years of our development. Getting back together this way was like one big social party. We joked a lot, Joey did impressions of Johnny Carson and Jon Lovitz which made me laugh just as it always did. Jenna remembers a lot of funny stuff that I have forgotten and Michael remains the person who makes me laugh the most with the wisest insight about everything it seems. We have not had cause to be together this way in 20 years and I don’t think an informal get together would have produced the same kind of hilarity as filming these promos for Hub Network did. This was simply how it all evolved for us to get back together and I am grateful for it!
I don’t feel like we look all that different, just older. I know I have wrinkles and creases near my eyes that I didn’t have 25 years ago. I have to wear Spanx now to satisfy the demands of our industry. The idea that every body needs to look like a model’s body is something that barely existed for adult women in the early 1990s and definitely did not exist in my consciousness as a teenager in the 1990s. I am an adult now and when I think back to all of those years we spent taking pictures, I remember how insecure I was and how hard it was for me to focus on the fact that what I was doing was a job as an employed actor. It often felt like being given my own TV show at age 14 was some crazy dream-like accident that started when I was cast in “Beaches.” I have perspective now that I didn’t then. I have a lot less ego. I’m not much more confident now about my appearance than I was as a teenager, I’m sorry to say. But it’s okay. I can only be me, right?
4. The Little Things and The Big Things
It’s funny the things you remember; it’s also funny the things that you forget. Joey has a little scar that I remember asking him about the very first time I ever noticed it. I got to see it again. Joey always had a lot to say and he still does, but he is very thoughtful and he is exquisitely professional and he also has a really silly and goofy sense of humor which he doesn’t show to a lot of people. Michael has these really bendy double-jointed fingers that we used to tease him about. I had forgotten about that. Michael was the first person to turn me on to Elvis Costello and I looked up to him tremendously for all of the time he was in my life as a teenager. I’ve missed that. The twinkle in Jenna’s eyes that made her such a charming young girl and teenager is still there, but now she is a grown woman with intelligence and poise and maturity. We spent five years of our lives together and we know a lot about each other in ways no one else does. It’s very special.
5. Now What?
Michael and I will continue to socialize. We share the same manager now for our acting careers, so I hope our paths will continue to cross in many ways. Now that the four of us have all been together, I hope we’ll get to do it again. Joey is super busy on his show, “Melissa and Joey,” and he has two daughters and a very busy life, but I think we realized after being together how much we can still gain from each other. Jenna just filmed an episode of “Celebrity Wife Swap,” believe it or not, but it sounds like it was a really cool experience, and I have a feeling her acting career may start up again!
I set out to write a fun post here, but it feels like there is just so much nostalgia and sweetness that what came out was mostly reflective and not anecdotal. Sorry!
I will try again to come up with some fun behind-the-scenes stuff. Until then, this will serve as a reminder that actors are people too, and that celebrities experience the same range of emotions that everyone does, and the overwhelm of a reunion is both exciting, career affirming, and sweet. Whoa!